Projector Reviews

TI DLP® Technology Meets LED, Gets Brighter, and Together, Take On Traditional Lamp Projectors – Page 3

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The Future of LED/DLP® Projectors for Commercial Use

Finally, LED light engines are bright enough. I will use the ViewSonic X10-4KE as our example. While many think of it as a home entertainment product, that only scratches its potential. Corporations, take notice.

First, we have 2,400 lumens, which should behave about like a 3,500+ lumen lamp projector. Plenty of power for typical conference rooms, K-12 classrooms, huddle spaces, and all kinds of digital signage. It’s short throw lens definitely helps. It’s 9 pounds makes it viable as a portable, as well.

This photo of an image projected by the Viewsonic is an indication of picture quality more than  suitable for impressive presentations or digital signage.
This photo of an image projected by the Viewsonic is an indication of picture quality more than suitable for impressive presentations or digital signage.

Capable! The X10-4KE’s serving up wired and wireless networking, combined with an android operating system that allows voice control through Alexa and Google Assistant.

Two HDMI 2.0’s with HDCP, (even an SPDIF – digital optical) and three USB’s, a card reader, plus more, make it a truly formidable projector. Perhaps not as bright, but with most of what is found in big 10,000 projectors, given this is a fixed lens short throw design. The LED engine claim of 30,000 hours is over 4 years of 24/7/365! No maintenance required.

Seriously – all of this, plus sharp 4K UHD resolution!

I “project” that these LED projectors will fast become huge for smaller digital signage applications. They can do things flat displays can’t do, look for odd shapes and abilities like projection mapping, including Point of Sale!

Speaking of 4K UHD:  For those not clear on the pecking order of 4K capable projectors when it comes to sharpness and detail, here’s how they stack up – all else being equal!  That is, for example, comparable optical quality of  lenses, but differing ways of putting the info up on the screen (ie pixel shifting vs native…)

Native 4K:  A projector that can put 8.3 million pixels on the screen without overlapping them (without pixel shifting). Projectors that do this have the smallest pixels, and cn therefore resolve more detail.
4K UHD – 2716x1528x2 DLP chips:  The next best thing.  Larger pixels (2x the size in area), with pixel shifting provide more detail than using lower numbers of pixels before pixel shifting.  By shifting – hitting the screen twice, more detail than the same 2716×1528 resolution in a single pass
4K UHD – 1920x1080x4 DLP chips: These hit the screen 4x, but start out with larger pixels.  Therefore cannot reproduce as much detail as those above.
4K Capable – Pixel Shifters: – 1920x1080x2:  By only hitting the screen 2X cannot muscle up as much detail as the 4K UHD projectors. So far, all the pixel shifting LCoS and 3LCD projectors are at this “lower” resolution.
4K Capable 1080p/WUXGA projectors:  These are fast becoming popular – They have the ability to accept 4K content, but merely downscaling it to 1080 or WUXGA resolution.  This primarily provides future proofing, rather than improved sharpness and detail compared to feeding such projectors 1080/WUXGA content.
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This Viewsonic is just one interesting configuration of LED projectors hitting the market. Others are more traditional such as a just-announced, lower-cost LG business projector we are reviewing.

ViewSonic-provided image showing their M2 projector projecting content wirelessly.
ViewSonic-provided image showing their M2 projector projecting content wirelessly.

It is obvious that LED projectors have finally achieved the needed brightness to replace lamp projectors. Furthermore, the commercial capability that can be baked into a $1,499 MSRP priced projector shouts “game-changing.” Look for more wide spread use, and far more commercial LED projectors.

The LED/DLP® Projectors for Home Entertainment and Home Theater

DLP® and LED technologies invented the Pico projector a decade ago. The first were typically about 100 lumens. They weighed a few ounces, some had batteries on board. They even looked like tiny “regular” projectors in many cases. But, 100 lumens really is toy level. You need a dark room even for a decent small image.

Fortunately, today there are now some pretty small models capable of 200 or 300 lumens, such as the Acer C200 we just discussed. Typical of the under $100, or under $200, most of those projectors are lower resolution. That C200, for example, is WVGA – 853×480 – the same as DVD, not Blu-ray, let alone 4K UHD. Still, they can be fun, and one of those are bright enough. Think this way: about 450 lumens is all you need for a 100” screen to achieve movie theater brightness. 150 lumens, therefore, will do a good job up to about 70” in that dark room.

Additional images (sports) of action projected with Viewsonic X10-4KE (from our review):

I have always favored the larger pocket projectors. Those typically weigh in between 2 and 6 pounds. Some are smaller than others. And no, most are not small enough to fit into a pocket!

The majority of pocket projectors offer between 300 and 1000 lumens, so they are “getting serious.” Most pocket projectors today are WXGA or 720p, WUXGA or 1080p, and now, even a couple of 4K UHD pocket projectors.

While the previously mentioned Viewsonic is a larger projector (9 pounds), an example of a “Pocket-Sized” projector in 4K UHD would be AAXA’s 4K1 – a third interesting example LED/DLP® projector I’ll address.

AAXA 4K1: Starts with 4K UHD resolution and 1,500 claimed lumens. It’s a larger Pocket projector with a 7.5 x 8.5 inch foot print.Weighing in at 2.9 lbs, it still comes it at less than 5 lbs if you add the external battery pack! Go portable! (Outside movie night?)
AAXA 4K1: Starts with 4K UHD resolution and 1,500 claimed lumens. It’s a larger Pocket projector with a 7.5 x 8.5 inch foot print.Weighing in at 2.9 lbs, it still comes it at less than 5 lbs if you add the external battery pack! Go portable! (Outside movie night?)

Check out the AAXA 4K1 – filling a 100” diagonal image in my old home theater. Even with low back lights on, bright vivid colors!
Check out the AAXA 4K1 – filling a 100” diagonal image in my old home theater. Even with low back lights on, bright vivid colors!

Similarly sized and slightly smaller pocket projectors with lower resolution start from under $500! Lots of fun in a small package. Or, with battery power, you can think of a lot of field uses for science and education.

Continued on the next page!